Best of Malaysia – Nyonya Cuisine by Chef Debbie Teoh

Not many places in KL do fantastic Nyonya cuisine, and one of the persons who ranks way up there as Nyonya cooking guru, is Chef Debbie Teoh. If Debbie calls, I drop everything to dine at her table. Trust me folks, it is THAT good!

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Anyway, not only will she be cooking her fantastic Nyonya nosh for me, but also for anyone who might be interested in this cuisine. From the 5 September to 12 October, the talented lady will be showcasing her expertise in Nyonya cuisine to diners at Chatz Brasserie. Chef Debbie will be preparing all those familiar, and also less familiar Nyonya dishes through buffet dinners, hi-teas and interactive cooking classes at the ParkRoyal hotel KL. So depending on your interests, you can definitely enjoy Debbie, up close and personal, especially if you sign up for her courses.

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 Ayam Buah Keluak

With more than 17 years of experience in the food industry, you know you will be learning the tricks of the Nyonya trade, from a true-bred Nyonya who hails from Malacca. Her father is a Baba from Malacca, and her mother is a Nyonya from Penang. It is no surprise as to how her forte in Nyonya cuisine for both Southern and Northern Nyonya styles came about. She also has vast experience in Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Western cuisine for both cooking and baking. Adding to that, with both sides of her family being inspiring cooks, this is where Chef Debbie obtained her skills in the culinary profession.

So, what are my favourites on her menu this time?


Well, two words. Buah Keluak!

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opiate like keluak has the creamy, rich mouthfeel of Sea Urchin, and the musky flavour not unlike that of truffle! 

She makes any dish with this black, molten “opium” as the centerpiece come alive with flavour! No one does it like Debbie. Cumi is not a fan of the Keluak, but I sure am. So I ate more than enough for the two of us. Totally addicted to it – it is definitely my achilles heel.

A true Peranakan delicacy, Buah Keluak is an Indonesian Black Nut with a hard shell, which contains a black creamy paste with a unique taste. Did you know that one shell actually has 1.5 of the buah keluak stuffed back into it – talk about quality. Chef Debbie gives you only the best.

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Pais Buah Keluak

Dishes to look out for include, the Gulai Kiam Hu Kut, Hu Pio Soup, Nasi Ulam, Perut ikan, Pais Buak Keluak, Kerabu Jantung Pisang with Prawns, Fish Panggang with Lum Chut Sauce, Melaka Ayam Pongteh.. and for dessert, Kuih Bongkong, Rempah Udang and Sweet Potato Kasui.

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Fish fillet at the heart of the Pais

And this time, Chef Debbie will be introducing Pais Buah Keluak – it’s like another ganja dish.. totally addicted! Similar to otak-otak, the Pais is made from keluak paste – 8 whole buah keluak goes into making one of these. Imagine the work and then the flavour – smooth, rich, thick and creamy.. not unlike that of Uni (Sea Urchin) and the deep flavour that resembles Truffles. At the Pais Keluak center is a lovely fish fillet that adds sweetness to this “otak-otak”. Flavours were definitely heightened by coconut cream, fish fillet, shallots, chillies and peppercorns.

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Gulai Perut Ikan

Another addition on the a la carte menu is Gulai Perut Ikan, a fish stomach dish fermented by Chef Debbie herself. It is priced at RM35 nett per bowl, inclusive of steamed rice. This is my all time favourite Nyonya dish, probably because of the addictive sourness that comes from assam juice, pineapple, brinjal & the texture that comes from a super fresh and chewy perut ikan. Loved the deep robust flavours imparted by shallots, dried chiliies, lemongrass, galanggal, daun kadok, kaffir lime leaves, kunyit leaves and small prawns as well. The Gulai Perut Ikan is available as an a la carte order at RM30 nett for two pieces.

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Debbie proudly showing us her rather handsome pieces of fish stomach.. they were huge! 

Other delicious dishes to look out for are Fish Tempra, Lemak Udang Nenas, Telur Cincalok, Nasi Kunyit with Chicken Curry and Sambal Kiam Hu, the famous Melaka Laksa Lemak, Ayam Kapitan, Pai Tee, Ju Hu Char, assorted Kerabu, Geram Asam, Itek Tim and Lemak Sukun.

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Hu Pio Soup  – Fish Maw and Prawn balls 

A lovely clear soup of Fish Maw, whose sweetness comes from Chicken bones, yam bean, carrots, cabbage, garlic crisps and coriander leaves.

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Melaka Ayam Pongteh

The characteristic ‘tau cheow’ beanpaste flavour of this dish, gets me every time! Also present are flavours of gula melaka, potatoes and mushrooms – that makes this chicken dish complete.

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 Fish Panggang with Lum Chut Sauce

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Gulai Kiam Hu Kut

For those who love Gulai dishes, this one is a must order. Longbeans, small prawns, eggplant, tofu puffs, coconut milk, salted fish bones.. with lovely flavours of coriander seeds, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, and belachan.. super addictive!

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Kerabu Jantung Pisang with Prawns

Crunchy Jantong pisang, prawns, sambal belachan, santan, kasturi lime and shallots make this dish a refreshing winner.

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Nasi Ulam

White rice never tasted better! With gorgeous explosions of lemongrass, kunyit leaves, kaffir lime leaves, daun kadok ‘wild pepper leaves’, birds eye chilly, garlic, chekur leaves, daun kesom ‘laksa leaves’, dried prawns, salted fish, pepper and fresh turmeric.. yum!

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Kuih Bongkong

A fantastic, rich and creamy dessert of Rice flour, tapioca flour, coconut milk and gula melaka. I drank every last drop of the gula melaka.

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Rempah Udang 

This savory dessert is my favourite – Coriander, shallots, kerisek, sugar and salt and cooconut milk, glutinous rice and bunga telang colouring makes this dessert such a pretty one to look at. At the center is the Rempah udang  – imparts a lovely pungent burst of prawn aroma when you bite into it.

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Sweet Potato Kasui

Finally a dessert of sweet potatoes, sugar, coconut milk, tapioca flour, plain flour and grated coconut, ends dinner on a high note. What a great night. Be sure to catch Debbie Teoh at ParkRoyal Hotel this Friday onwards, for some terrific Nyonya cooking.

Also check this fantastic Promotion – Free class at Parkroyal hotel KL, this sat 6th sept, at 9.30 am registration; 10am class starts. Learn to make:
Ayam kapitan 
Roti ayam
Pulot inti
(You need to pay for high tea to enjoy this free class – for details +603 2147 0088 or email [email protected])

The Buffet Dinner is available on Friday and Saturday night (6:30pm to 10:30pm ) at a promotional rate of RM85 nett per person. Saturday & Sunday High Tea (12:30pm to 4:00pm), priced at RM78 nett per pax.

Prior reservation is required for ‘Best of Malaysia: Nyonya Cuisine by Chef Debbie Teoh’. For reservations +603 2147 0088 or email [email protected]

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